A crowd of nearly a hundred people gathered in front of the Israeli Consulate in downtown San Francisco March 3 in opposition to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the United States. The ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition along with AROC (Arab Resource Organizing Center) and other progressive forces joined together in a call against a new war on Iran, to end the colonial occupation of Palestine, and to end all forms of U.S. aid to Israel.
Among the speakers at the demonstration was Eyad Kishawi of AROC, who recalled that Netanyahu had addressed Congress in 2002 in support of the invasion of Iraq and the alleged threat posed by the Saddam Hussein regime. Kishawi drew similarities between Netanyahu’s 2002 speech to his March 3 address before a joint session of Congress on the alleged threat posed by Iran. “It was lies then, and it is lies now,” Kishawi said.
Richard Becker of the ANSWER Coalition, in reference to Netanyahu’s address, said, “This was about war against Iran.” He went on to speak about the strategy of the United States in the Middle East: “The U.S. has destroyed or degraded all the other independent states in the region. Who is left? Iran.”
Mazda Majidi, also of ANSWER, spoke on Israel’s intentions to sabotage any nuclear deal between the United States and Iran and to push for further sanctions, which have “already caused a great deal of suffering for the Iranian people.”
Omar Ali of ANSWER identified the state of Israel as “a hub for U.S. imperialism in the Middle East” and went on to point out that the NYPD has established an office in Israel to receive training from Israeli defense forces. Lara Kiswani of AROC stated that “the same police who murder and massacre Black and Brown people in this country are trained by the Israeli police who murder and massacre Palestinians.”
Nida Fuad, a Palestinian woman who had spent most of her childhood in Palestine, spoke to Liberation News about her experience: “I saw firsthand the atrocities and cruelty that Israel commits against the Palestinian people on a day-to-day basis. In all aspects of life, from eating, to schooling, to even walking on the street you can be arrested or beaten on a whim. So I feel a strong passion to stand in solidarity with all of these movements that are fighting for the end of occupation in Palestine.” She went to say that she was not surprised that people in the U.S. experienced similar oppression. “If you are from a lower-income community, if your skin color is black, if you want equality, you are treated less than human, and that’s what Israel does with Palestinians,” she said.
The protest at the Israeli Consulate was a strong show of force by the Bay Area progressive community against the war-mongering of Prime Minister Netanyahu and his crimes against the Palestinian people. It was also an opportunity to connect the struggles of poor and minority groups in the United States to the oppression felt by Palestinians, effectively
showcasing the racist agendas within the ruling classes of both the U.S. and Israel. A growing movement is building to challenge the imperialist ambitions of the U.S. and its allies, and it has never been more important for working and oppressed people of the world to strive for revolutionary change.